4 lessons from EPA’s criticized crisis response

After the Associated Press reported it had yet to visit several flooded ‘Superfund’ sites, the environmental agency offered a scathing critique of the reporter’s credibility. Here’s what they could have done instead.

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The Environmental Protection Agency is fighting back—but many called it the wrong move.

After The Associated Press report questioned why EPA workers had yet to access damaged toxic sites in Houston, the agency attacked the reporter, claiming AP was guilty of “yellow journalism.”

In the Sept. 3 report, AP reported that 13 “Superfund” sites—designated by the EPA as some of America’s most toxic places—were under water in Houston flooding. The article claimed that reporters had been able to access the sites by boat and on foot, even though the EPA was still offsite.

AP’s Jason Dearen and Michael Biesecker wrote:

AP journalists used a boat to document the condition of one flooded Houston-area Superfund site, but accessed others with a vehicle or on foot. The EPA did not respond to questions about why its personnel had not yet been able to do so.

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